Election termed fair, transparent
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 7: A total of 37 MPs-elect responded to the invitation of MP-elect Badr Al-Dahoum to a meeting in his house on Monday to coordinate their views on electing the next National Assembly Speaker and formation of parliamentary committees.
Present at the meeting were MPs-elect Mubarak Al-Khajma, Ahmed Al-Shuhoumi, Shuwaib Al-Muwaizri, Ahmed Mutei, Mehalhal Al-Medef, Yousef Al-Ghareeb, Fayez Al-Jumhour, Osama Al-Shaheen, Muhannad Al-Sayer, Abdulkareem Al-Kandari, Saleh Al-Mutairi, Abdullah Al- Medef, Abdulaziz Al-Saqaabi, Al-SaifiMubarak Al-Saifi, Nasser Al-Dousari, Soud Bu Saleeb, Musaed Al-Mutairi, Khalid Al-Otaibi, Salman Al-Heleala, Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Thamer Al-Suwait, Badr Al-Humaidi, Farz Al-Daihani, Osama Al-Menawer, Muhammad Al-Rajehi, Fares Al- Otaibi, Mubarak Al-Arow, Hamad Rouhaldeen, Hamad Al- Azmi, Muhammad Al-Mutair, Marzouq Al-Khalifa, Hamad Al-Matar, Muhammad Al-Hewaila, Hassan Jawhar, Badr Al-Mullah and Khalid Ayed.
In a press statement after the meeting, Al-Dahoum disclosed that he did not coordinate with the government before the meeting; but he was quick to clarify that he does not mind coordinating with the government since it is part of the Parliament. He said they discussed important issues like the election for the main parliamentary positions and committees, priority bills, general amnesty and the need to agree on one candidate for the Speakership.
During the meeting, Badr Al-Humaidi and Muhammad Al-Mutair revealed their intention to run for the speakership; leading to an argument among those present. Al-Dahoum added an agreement has been reached to change former Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim, indicating the issue will be clearer in the next meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
On the other hand, MP-elect Ahmed Al-Shuhoumi unveiled his plan to nominate himself for Deputy Speaker, MP-elect Osama Al-Shaheen for secretary general and MPelect Mubarak Al-Khajma for chairman of the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee.
MP-elect Musaed Al-Ardi stressed the need for the incoming Speaker to sign a commitment to prioritize the ratification of a law on general amnesty and amendment of the Audiovisual Law. Bahrain on Sunday congratulated Kuwait a day after its Gulf neighbor held parliamentary elections in orderly fashion, which garnered an impressive voter turnout amid a seamless electoral process. This came in a cable Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa Al- Khalifa sent to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in which he praised Kuwait’s elections as a democratic spectacle that served to solidify the country’s “growing presence” on the international stage.
In reply, His Highness the Amir thanked the Bahraini king for the warm sentiments, wishing Manama continued prosperity and development. A local civil society group on Sunday touted the “transparency and integrity” of Kuwait’s parliamentary elections, a day after Kuwaitis headed to the polls to elect a new Parliament in a vote overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. “Kuwait managed to hold elections in due time, whereas some 73 countries were forced to delay polls because of the pandemic,” the National Integrity Society said in a statement, thanking all state bodies involved for their contributions towards the organization of the polls.
It acknowledged the efforts of interior ministry personnel in dealing with any glitches amid the vote, saying the electoral process and subsequent ballot counting were held in a “transparent manner.” The group went on to applaud the “competence” of state television and local dailies alike as they provided the nation with up to the minute coverage while the vote unfolded. Kuwaiti voters replaced more than half of the sitting MPs, dealing a strong blow to pro-government forces, women and the so-called Liberals in a that seen as a protest against the performance of the outgoing Parliament, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting https://www.bloomberg.com The incoming National Assembly boasts of 31 new members, including 22 new faces. None of the 28 women who contested the polls got elected, including the only female member of the outgoing National Assembly.
Tribal members made strong gains while opposition candidates also won more seats. Liberals fared poorly and many leading pro-government legislators failed to retain their seats. Sectarian candidates also lost out on their re-election bids. The results are “shocking and send expressive messages,” Abdullah Al-Shayji, a political science professor at the Kuwait University, said on Twitter.
It was the “uprising” of the voters at the ballot boxes during a pandemic, “and the fall of many lawmakers due to their positions and closeness to the government, are lessons for lawmakers and all governments,” he said, describing the outcome as a “new dawn.” Head of the Kuwaiti Transparency Society Majed Al-Mutairi said the elections in Kuwait were fair and transparent and pointed out the participation rate ranged between 68 and 70 percent, which is considered one of the highest rates of participation in the Kuwaiti political history.
Al-Mutairi told the Al-Seyassah daily, the rate of participation in the elections in light of the COVID-19 pandemic is very high compared to the Arab countries, as the percentage of votes cast in Jordan, for example, was only 38 percent.
Al-Mutairi renewed the demands of the society of the need to establish an independent election commission, in addition to amending some provisions of the election law by giving citizens the option to vote when they are abroad, prisoners and others, and the need to reform the election law and the proportional distribution of constituencies. He pointed to the need of detailing the honor and honesty article so that there is no deletion of candidates without a clear mechanism.
He announced that the international team that monitored the election process will ‘soon’ issue a report in conjunction with the local team and praised the role of the Ministry of Justice and the Judiciary and the Supreme Committee for Elections for their distinguished work and role.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff and Agencies